The Taiwanese Navy on Friday (July 1) announced that one of its vessels had mistakenly fired a Hsiung Feng 3 (HF-3) anti-ship missile earlier in the morning.
Navy Command said the vessel, a Ching Chiang-class 580-tonne guided missile patrol ship from the 131 Navy Fleet based in Keelung, mistakenly fired the missile during a routine exercise near Zuoying Naval Base in the south. The missile landed near the outlying islands of Penghu, it said. While the Navy initially said that nobody was injured in the incident, it confirmed later in the day that the missile had hit a fishing vessel, killing one and injuring three others. The missile slammed through the boat and did not explode.
An investigation into the incident is being conducted. At a press conference at 10:30 on Friday, the Ministry of National Defense said preliminary results indicated that technicians did not follow standard procedures while conducting checks, resulting in the accidental firing.
By interesting coincidence, the incident occurs on the anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party on July 1, 1921.
Developed by the National Chung Shan Institute of Science and Technology (NCSIST), Taiwan’s primary military research institute, the supersonic HF-3 “Brave Wind” anti-ship missile entered service in 2007 and has since been deployed on various guided missile ships. The domestically built Ching Chiang-class vessels were armed with HF-3 launchers as part of a recent upgrade program initiated in 2012.
Dubbed Taiwan’s “carrier killer,” the missile has an operational range of 150-200 km. A land-based version, which can be fired from fixed-launchers or road-mobile units, is also in service.
(This article was updated on July 1, 2016, 4:29pm: killing of fisherman.)